"Why should I buy a Hedwitschak drum?"
Because you’re guaranteed to get the highest quality and most reliable service at a fair and appropriate price. You get more than just a drum or a tipper – you get full-time service, a great joy in playing, a bit of quality of life, and honest advice.
We never use drum heads from countries where wages, means of production, hygiene, working conditions, and environmental issues might be a problem. That is guaranteed!
We care about our products and therefore also about our suppliers. We do see our responsibility for the environment, and so our internal standards are much higher than they would have to be.
The goats for our drum head skins all come from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Our suppliers for lambeg skins get the skins from Ireland, Greece, and Italy. The common beech for our frames is also taken from local forests. All of our suppliers for glue, screws, surface treatment, and small parts are from Germany and get their goods mostly from within Europe.
The black tape we use to harmonize overtones is also made in Germany.
The case supplier “GEWA” is a German company.
The tipper grips we get in Ireland.
Plastic is only used where it makes sense from a technical and economic point of view.
Varnish is only used in special rooms with appropriate filters and extraction systems, and varnishes are disposed of in compliance with the high environmental standards in Germany.
We try to fully use all of our material, e.g. what is left over after cutting the wood will be used for crossbars, tippers, and drum stands. The rest is used as fuel.
"And which model should I buy?"
The decision which model you choose does not just depend on your budget. More than anything, it depends on your requirements. A more expensive model is not automatically the better choice, and vice versa.
Please note that not every skin can be combined with every frame. There is a reason why we offer certain models only with a certain skin.
Since the beginning of 2012, we have not been offering low-budget models (LightLine) any more, but have been focusing on mid-range (earlier BasicLine, now CoreLine) and high-end (HighEndLine) models.
Mid-Range - CoreLine
The term “mid-range” does not do the CoreLine models justice. As the name CoreLine suggests, these models are high-quality instruments focusing on what is essential, on the core of the matter. The CoreLine models are not bound to a certain sound, they are not designed for a specific playing style, and they do not focus on a specific look. That is why the CoreLine is a great choice for beginners and players who are looking for an outstanding drum at the best possible price.
Especially beginners may find it difficult to grasp the differences between individual skins (for example Lambeg skin, DRAGONSkin or deer skin) and the various drum models' designs. A CoreLine model is an all-purpose tool and the ideal companion to help you develop your own playing style and to help you find out which sound is for you. It will be fairly easy to resell a CoreLine model if you want to switch to a different drum model. The good availability (some models are kept in stock) and short delivery times are another strong reason for choosing a CoreLine model. With the nut wood variant, we can even meet special requests regarding frame sizes and skin characteristics (thickness, spine, structure, but only with Edlauer Select drum skins).
For players who already know what they want, what type of sound they prefer and what kind of playing experience they are looking for, we offer an extensive range of various drum models. Small to large diameters, soft and thin to hard and thick skins, different frame depths and shapes, custom frame weights and frame designs with specific veneers or varnished surfaces – virtually anything is possible.
A few notes:
- the smaller the diameter, the shorter the drum skin vibrates. This means that the sound is more defined and clearer, but it also tends to be less loud. Very small drums require a different playing style with a higher amount of hand pressure for sound modulation.
- the larger the diameter, the more and the longer the drum skin vibrates. The sound is “wilder” and tends to be louder. Very large drums require a lot of “skin hand” work and tend to be more difficult to control.
—> 35 cm to 40 cm bodhráns are the most commonly played drums.
- "The deeper the frame the more bass there is” - this theory is wrong! The idea that very deep frames create a better sound is a widespread misconception. Deep frames can indeed result in a higher bass pressure. However, this often leads to a distortion of the overall sound (higher frequency ranges suffer), and the sound can become “roaring” or “muddy”. The deeper the frame is compared to the skin diameter, the more aimed the sound is. This means that only a limited and distorted version of the actual sound produced reaches the player's ears. Experience has shown that the ideal frame depth is from 12 to16 cm. Sound optimization must be considered in combination with playing comfort. It's the complete package that counts!
- Single/Double Crossbars
Double crossbars were originally mainly required for stability and to keep the frame as round as possible. Another reason was the open way of playing the bodhrán. The double crossbar has meanwhile become a relic and has been partly replaced by a single crossbar. This is due to new frame designs and production techniques, and also new playing styles where the back hand is used to change the pitch and tone of the sound, and the double crossbar would be in the way.
While most of the players today play without a crossbar, some players prefer bodhráns with single crossbars. A crossbar does limit the possibilities of playing, because the player is forced to hold the drum in one of two possible positions. That is why I would only recommend crossbars in exceptional cases.
A cutout is a notch or even a hole in the frame designed to facilitate a flatter playing angle for the back hand. While cutouts are indispensable for very deep frames, they affect the quality of drums with common frame depths. A cutout will make you hold the drum in a certain position, meaning that only specific parts of the drum skin are used by both the back hand and the tipper all the time, which can lead to unnecessary wearing of the skin.
Players who prefer homogeneous drum skins, for example Martin O'Neill, tend to slightly turn the drum while playing and therefore use all parts of the skin. This also results in a higher degree of tuning stability. These are the reasons why I would only recommend cutouts in exceptional cases.
In many years of cooperation with experienced and world-famous bodhrán players, I have designed three Signature Bodhrán models. Just like the players they are named after, the individual models have very unique and specific playing styles and sound ideals.
- the RWE by Rolf Wagels – in production since 2005
- the MONss by Martin O´Neill – in production since 2012
- the EMsig by Eamon Murray – in production since 2013
- the CBss by Cormac Byrne – in production since 2014
The MOS2, which was introduced in the summer of 2013, offers a great way of adjusting your drum to your specific changing requirements:
With the ChangeHED skin holding system (which is also available for all 37 cm custom-made drums), you can now change drum skins and tuning frames yourself and even swap them with other MOS2 players.
Further special editions with very unique sound characteristics and fields of use are the MOF, MHTF, InsightLine, LillebrorTrumma, TrHed and FireBall.
"I’ve seen Eamon Murray play a LightLineDeep 30 on stage. This surely must be the best drum then….?"
"I’ve seen Martin O´Neill with a tiny BasicLine on stage, is this the best drum I can get?”
"I’ve seen player ABCD used to play a drum made by maker XXXX on stage, and now he plays a bodhrán made by maker YYYYY. Now, is the one made by YYYY better than the one made by XXXX? Is YYYY even a better maker than XXXX?“
"I don’t like maker XXXX, because…..."
What is being played on stage by well-known players often has nothing to do with what the average player in his everyday playing needs or expects. Often the reasons for choosing a particular drum are trivial. For example, Eamon Murray played a LightLineDeep30 because it produces a clear sound when amplified, and it has a great advantage: it’s small and light, which makes it the ideal travel drum, especially when travelling by plane. That’s why he picked the LLD30 for the Beoga US tour 2008. And as you can see, if you are really good, you can play (almost) any drum. But I think the fact that many of the well-known players choose to play my drums says a lot about the sound qualities and reliability in any climatic conditions.
On the subject of other makers: to be honest, I don’t want to hear any stories in which other makers are talked down, or in which it is claimed that one maker is better than the other. Every well-known maker produces drums in their own way because that’s what they feel is the best way. Everybody deserves respect. Most makers work together more than you’d expect, and the exchange of information is great. In my eyes, there is no “best bodhrán”, only the one that suits a player best. I know that most of my colleagues look at things the same way. This, by the way, is the reason why I don’t think a direct comparison of drums by self-established judges is a good idea.
I would be very happy to build THE drum for YOU. :-)